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Welcome Dressage Aficionados

Welcome to my new blog - dressage diva central. Well - not really. While the haute couture from America and Europe will be avidly addressed, and there will be some 'whining' and 'wining' going on, let's learn how to sit better, ride better and feel better. Masters of art and of dressage have historically been men, so isn't it time to look at iconic women in our sport too. It was Karin Rehbein and Donnerhall that inspired me - yeah - hubby Hubert rocked too. Wanna visit Grunwoldhof but can't afford the airfare? I'll fill you in. Lots to share. Can't wait.

Before we get started. Reality sets in. Snow here in the mountains of beautiful New York State and my own herd of homebreds and home trained horses to care for ( including my Grand Prix Andalusian/DWBx featured above, stable name 'Tigger", because of his ever so bouncy springy legs), but must out and at it.

Please sign in to follow. Love sharing.  Meantime,  thought for the moment:-

"There's something about the outside of a horse, that is great for the inside of a (wo)man - " a paraphrase, thanks Winston Churchill - I don't think he'd mind.

Winston has always been a hero of mine. Last October I visited his home, in fact the room where he was born, at Blenheim Palace in the Oxfordshire countryside. I was so moved I actually shed a tear as I stood at the foot of his bed.  He wrote novels, was an artist of repute, rode horses and was a horse breeder and oh yes, he led a country through one of the most tumultuous times in history. Well - the first four I've emulated in my way. Pretty happy not to have endured the latter.  Have you seen the much acclaimed Steven Spielberg movie War Horse? Well Winston made a priority of retrieving horses from Europe after WWII, will post news on that later. Horses beckon.


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Live Your Best Life ~ Loss Of Your Heart Horse

As many of you know we recently had to make one of the toughest decisions that any animal owner has to endure - euthanasia of a beloved pet. In our case our Grand Prix DWB horse Charrington WVH, aka Charlie.

We had owned him since a three year old. Recently gelded at that time and full of stallion antics, he knew nothing about riding and hubbie Paul and I enjoyed the 16 years of owning him and teaching him all about dressage. Both of our twins sat on him over the course of the years as young teens/adults for an occasional lesson, but throughout his life he was very much my horse. Everybody loved Charlie. He was the 'go to' horse for photos. Always completely trustworthy with neophyte horse visitors of all ages. Charlie never had an unsound day in his life, and was always willing to play and loved to be ridden. Never a colic, but an occasional choke that we were able to resolve without a vet visit, caused no doubt by his amazing vacuum abilities and cathedral like mouth.

In Spri…

Flying Changes Problems Answered

The fun to do, fun to train, dressage flying change is truly like dancing with your horse. Unfortunately all too often issues arise during training that make them less than perfect.

Major issues which are very common include swinging of the hindquarters ( which will cause lots of issues with tempi changes so be warned), changes that are late behind, swishing tails during the change, changes that are not forward, where the croup is high and the horse shows stiffness behind. In the latter event the horse will cover very little ground as he is not 'flying' through the change. Other issues that occur in training are running off after the change, bucking, coming above the bridle and the riders hand. Do not despair!

There is some discussion as to which leg should push hardest during the change and to whether there should be a lightening of the seat during the movement. From my experience and training, lightening the seat is to be avoided. Stay straight, do not collapse a hip and onl…

Dressage Bit Contact: The Dreaded Break at the 3rd Vertebrae and How to Resolve it

Schooling challenges: Inheriting a horse that has been trained incorrectly and breaks at the 3rd vertebrae - It is much easier to work a horse correctly from the beginning than to have to 'fix' an issue later on as we all know. Our latest equine protegee, this lovely stallion - has received minimal training and but has shown at Training Level in Canada ~ however somewhere along the line he was ridden incorrectly and allowed to hide behind the vertical. Though he scored well the judges comments noted inconsistent contact.

As he does not have an excessively long neck this is an interesting achievement. How to resolve it?

We'll begin by working him a little in front or above the bit, sending him forward and setting a good rhythm from the get go. Then we'll encourage him to take the reins and stretch over his back and out down in front, without putting his head too low i.e. not below the knee - he must learn to take the contact and to take his part of it consistently. Thi…